Twitter flags top Kenyan leaders over potentially misleading election information

Social media platform Twitter’s fact-checking feature that flags off information on the Kenyan General Election deemed as potentially misleading has been on overdrive since the tallying and counting of votes started.

The feature appeared as a warning below the tweets in question from late Thursday, informing users that “the Kenyan Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission might not have called the election results when this was Tweeted.”

Twitter’s warning applied to flag tweets declaring candidates as winners before IEBC released the results, as well as tweets quoting vote numbers for various elective seats.

Several Twitter users allied to the Azimio La Umoja One Kenya coalition party and the Kenya Kwanza Alliance who were sharing presidential results they claimed were the final tallying figures saw their tweets flagged.

Some of the notable accounts that had their tweets flagged were Azimio leader Raila Odinga’s presidential running mate Martha Karua, ODM party Secretary-General and Nairobi senatorial candidate Edwin Sifuna, blogger Dennis Itumbi, as well as lawyers Ahmednasir Abdullahi and Dr. Miguna Miguna.

This comes even as the East African Community (EAC) Election Observer Mission points out social media misinformation as one of the major challenges recorded during the election period.

Led by former Tanzania President Jakaya Kikwete, the observer mission on Thursday said although Tuesday’s polls were credible, disinformation, misinformation and hate speech on social media is still a matter that needs to be addressed.

Meanwhile, Twitter on Thursday also announced a series of changes to curb misinformation on the platform ahead of the U.S Midterm elections in November.

The social media platform said it would introduce labels that link to credible information or context onto tweets.

Twitter also said it would revive Prebunks, a feature it first used in the 2020 elections which shows messages at the top of users’ feeds to debunk false voting information.

Additionally, it would neither recommend nor amplify tweets it tags as misinformation and, in some cases, those tweets will not be able to be liked or shared.


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